JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --
The Museum of the Marine held a book fair and living history display at the Jacksonville Barnes and Noble, May 20 through 22.
The museum used the fundraiser to build support and awareness so it can reach its goal of breaking ground in the spring of 2012.
Displays included an M-2 Half Track armored car and M-50 “Ontos” light armored anti-tank vehicle, World War-era uniforms and other artifacts that may be on display at the museum once it is completed.
Additionally, retired Col. Bill Ayers, interim executive director of the museum, spoke about the history of Marine Corps uniforms to a crowd of interested listeners.
“It’s a fundraiser for the Museum of the Marine,” said Bruce Gombar, chairman of the museum’s board of directors. “It promotes education, awareness and involvement in the community.”
Gombar stated that the museum will benefit the entire Jacksonville community by providing jobs, a cultural venue and a tourist attraction the city currently lacks.
Pfc. Daniel Pulhamus, a rifleman with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, went to Barnes and Noble for other reasons, but was glad he had the opportunity to see and learn about the displays.
“I learned a lot about the uniforms and how the Marines have stayed true to tradition and haven’t changed a whole lot,” said Pulhamus.
The Museum of the Marine will focus on the many firsts and unique contributions of Carolina Marines, including black Marines, women Marines, the MV-22 Osprey, amphibious doctrine and war dogs.
It will honor and preserve the stories of the Marines and the community that supported it in a way the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia cannot, Gombar explained.
“The national museum covers 235 years of Marine Corps history. Ours will only cover from about 1940 to today,” he said. “We will be able to tell that story and the stories of the community that supported us at the advent of World War II. That’s an important part in the story — a strong community supported us.”
Gina Cavallaro, an experienced war correspondent, signed copies of her book, “Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Cavallaro, also a staff writer for the Marine Corps Times, came from Alexandria, Va., for the sole purpose of signing books for the museum’s fair before she heads to Afghanistan.
“You end up meeting a ton of great people, especially the Marines.” she said. “Jacksonville has such an energy about it and it’s because of Camp Lejeune. You can’t separate Jacksonville from Camp Lejeune.”
The museum was able to raise approximately $1,000 and is about half way to being able to start construction this spring.
“That’s the biggest book fair we’ve held for an organization like a museum,” said Melanie Thomas, community relations manager for the bookstore. “It was a good number for them, especially their first time out.”